Weeknotes — 24th November 2018

Prodominantly this week I was preparing for a business trip to Tokyo, which due to friendly entry requirements has always been an incredibly pleasant process. I can't talk too much about the details for this specific trip, but some advice when working between languages and countries: Many technology vendors have subsidaries or regional counterparts who will be happy to work together (obvious example would be Google, Google Japan) be able to communicate amongst themselves and to help translate very specific advice.


Last week I skipped writing up and publishing any weeknotes. It was by choice and I feel uniquely empowered to have been able to do this: If I stick to the routine I’ll be setting myself up to fail when I inevitably am unable to publish one week. “Don’t break the chain” is a popular method for building and maintaining habits, popularised by Seinfeld, however I find that loss-aversion tactics have the opposite effect on me: After an initial spell in which I am biased to paying time and attention to the habit I am trying to build or avoid, I find that a single uncontrollable loss/failure won’t only break the streak: It’ll break the entire pattern of behaviour. (“Fall off the wagon”, for idiom friends).

On motivation, this article was hugely impactful. It’s amazing how small improvements to the visibility of one’s health and fitness can make such a huge difference. How I Used Technology to Get in the Best Shape of My Life and Save My Son. There’s also a sense of pragmatism that this conveys: You don’t need all the data in the world, just enough to keep you going.

EngineRoom 2018

Last week I went to the EngineRoom (Thanks Rik!). I loved the less formal nature that it being an internal conference brought. There’s a growing trend of technology companies speaking openly and honestly about hard-learned lessons and failures, which I personally find a great deal more interesting (and valuable) than the sales pitches (either for a silver-bullet product, methodology or person) that many technical talks have become. This was my first experience of an internal conference and it's a fantastic management practice that other organisations should be doing too. Here's some EventBrite marketing material on how to do it, and Here are versions of some of the most interesting talks: Anna Shipman—What I Learned in Six Years At GDS, Tyler McMullen—Software Fault Isolation and Edge Computing, Sarah Wells—The Challenges of Migrating 150+ Microservices to Kubernetes.

  • I bought an iPad Pro! Thoughts so far:
    • Uni-tasking as the primary experience within a desktop-sized OS is pretty great, it’s really improving my ability to get stuff done and the overall experience is nearly as complete as macOS.
    • A surprisingly large amount of the web has no idea how to treat an iOS browser: Some think I am a desktop, some think I am a large phone, some perform UA/browser detection and determine that I’m running an old browser. (Chrome, iOS, it makes little difference!) C’mon, we’re better than that!
    • The new pen is really quite nice to use, combined with the much better refresh rate I have now switched from Notability to GoodNotes for taking ad-hoc notes.
    • There’s no development environments available for iOS, and no_just-about-everybody-cracking-wise-when-I’ve-mentioned-this_remotely connecting to a virtual machine running Linux doesn’t count: ever-present, low-latency internet is still a myth. Plus the iPad is a whole lot more than just a reimagining of a thin-client, those hit their peak a long time ago with big mainframes!
    • With the keyboard connector attached, iOS still sometimes opens up the soft keyboard. Which on this screen size is huge.
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